Infineon: Why would anyone invade the lighting system?

A year ago, most people’s impression of invading lighting systems was that teenagers who loved pranks turned their lights on and off, and watched his family run from one room to another, trying to figure out their system. What is the problem. You will definitely think this is annoying, but it will not pose a real threat to personal safety or property. However, people are now beginning to realize the real danger; networked lighting systems can be an entry point into the entire smart home or building automation system.

Networked security devices such as door locks and security cameras need to be able to protect against hacker attacks. This is common sense. Any terminal that a hacker wants to access a home network and access a smart home or building automation network can be a way to access the network. Terminals that appear to be harmless, such as networked lighting or networked devices, may rely on malicious terminals to give hackers a chance to invade the system. This is like placing the security door key under the doormat.

If a hacker can access the relevant network, potential damage to privacy, personal property and identity can be devastating.

Researchers have confirmed that multiple brands of lighting products using WiFi and mesh protocols such as Zigbee face such attacks. In mesh networks, luminaires are very convenient communication nodes because they are distributed throughout the building and are usually connected to wires. This allows them to efficiently scale the network and keep communications running without the power limitations of battery-powered devices. In addition, this also means that they can send and relay forwarding instructions to other types of terminals in the network. Once an attacker gains the trust of a networked lighting system and gets a network key, the WiFi-enabled WPA2 protocol or the AES authentication protocol used in many Zigbee systems will be useless, allowing the hacker to control the network.

More and more people are aware of this weak link, and the desire to introduce higher security standards for networked terminals is growing stronger. Only network-level security protocols can no longer effectively protect the integrity of the system; security issues must be addressed from each device.

What is the best way to protect a networked terminal?

Networked luminaires are a retail commodity that makes it easy for an attacker to physically analyze and identify security vulnerabilities (for example, if encryption keys and security software are stored in standard MCU unprotected memory, then It's easy to find a way to get into the system). Effectively ensuring safety requires relying on dedicated tamper-resistant security devices such as secure microcontrollers. These controllers securely store network passwords and authentication keys and provide an isolated environment for security functions. A well-designed security chip can protect networked terminals from remote attacks and physical attacks, making each node of the network an effective barrier against hacker attacks.

To provide innovative solutions that make our lives safer and more convenient, smart homes and commercial/industrial building automation create opportunities as part of the fast-growing IoT market. Of course, everything has two sides. The convenience of a connected world allows homeowners to see home from hundreds of miles away, as well as providing opportunities for thieves and hackers to attack.

Fortunately, there are now trusted, proven, cost-effective security ICs available. For example, more than three billion security controllers are embedded in payment cards each year. Systematic use of hardware security devices in even the simplest intelligent lighting systems will help organizations prevent hackers from easily invading the network and avoiding potentially damaging consequences.

About the Author

Michael Armentrout has 18 years of experience in the semiconductor industry and is currently the North American Embedded Security Product Marketing and Business Development Manager at Infineon Technologies AG. Michael has held various product management positions and led application engineering and product marketing teams for wireless and security products for the mobile, home automation and security and embedded security markets. He has a BS in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech and an MBA from Portland State University.

About Infineon

Infineon Technologies AG is the world's leading semiconductor technology company, making people's lives more convenient, safe and environmentally friendly. Infineon's microelectronics products and solutions will lead you to a bright future. In FY2015 (ending September 30), the company's sales amounted to 5.8 billion euros and it has approximately 35,400 employees worldwide. Infineon is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: IFX) and the US over-the-counter market OTCQX InternaTIonal Premier (ticker symbol: IFNNY).

Infineon in China

Infineon Technologies AG officially entered the Chinese market in 1995. Since the establishment of the first company in Wuxi in October 1995, Infineon's business has grown very rapidly. With approximately 2,000 employees in China, it has become an important driving force for Infineon's Asia Pacific and global business development. Infineon has established a complete industrial chain covering R&D, production, sales, marketing and technical support in China, and has carried out in-depth research with leading domestic enterprises and universities in sales, technology research and development, and personnel training. Cooperation.

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